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January 25, 2015

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OSHA plans new Vegas office to monitor workplace safety

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WASHINGTON -- Federal Occupational Health and Safety Administration officials plan to return to Nevada and ultimately set up an office in the state to monitor Nevada OSHA's efforts to improve its lax oversight of workplace safety following a rash of worker deaths on the Las Vegas Strip, an official testified today at a House hearing.

Federal OSHA's acting director Jordan Barab is requiring that Nevada officials submit a detailed action plan by Nov. 20 after his agency's scathing federal review of the state program released last week found grave problems -- including investigators without adequate training and a management culture that discouraged harsh penalties for companies that violated workplace safety regulations.

The chairman of the House committee on Education and Labor said his committee was not done watching Nevada.

"It is clear that there is something terribly wrong with Nevada's OSHA program," said Democratic Rep. George Miller, chairman of the committee. The committee has held two hearings involving the Las Vegas deaths.

"While Nevada's promises to improve the program are an important first step, they must be monitored by federal officials."

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